School pupils have chance to win seat on Borders Railway golden ticket train

School pupils across the Borders will have the chance to win a return trip on the new Borders Railway golden ticket train on Saturday 5 September 2015, thanks to a very special giveaway.

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has commissioned local supplier Cocoa Black to produce a limited-edition chocolate bar to mark the occasion, supported by ScotRail.

During the week 24-28 August, the commemorative chocolate bars will be distributed to pupils in all 72 primary and secondary schools throughout the Borders with one per school containing a lucky Golden Ticket. This will entitle the winner to travel on a Stow-Edinburgh return journey on 5 September.

The draw is part of a series of school projects taking place during the week to ensure that children and young people across the region are fully aware of the significance of the return of the railway to the Borders and are able to be involved in the opening of the vital new transport link.

Themed around the Roald Dahl classic ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ – which topped a recent list of 100 books children need to read before they leave primary school – the activities are being supported by the ‘ScotRail in the Community’ programme and will include visits to schools from railway staff to talk about the line. Fundraising activities will also be held for the Radio Borders ‘Cash for Kids’ charity to benefit local children in need.

The school-based activities will run alongside several days of celebrations being held to mark the start of services on the line, kicking off with a Golden Ticket day of community events on Saturday 5 September.

The Borders Railway will officially begin operating on Sunday 6 September, providing regular train services between Tweedbank and Edinburgh calling at new stations at Galashiels, Stow, Gorebridge, Newtongrange, Eskbank and Shawfair.

Councillor Sandy Aitchison, SBC’s Executive Member for Education said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to be able to enjoy a special preview journey on the Borders Railway before it officially opens on 6 September.

“As part of the project, all pupils will enjoy a week-long series of events and lessons around the themes of literacy and journeys. This will include some additional prizes of book tokens as well as lots of interesting Borders Railway themed activities.

“Those lucky enough to find one of the rare Golden Tickets will join fellow pupils from schools across the Borders to take part in the historic opening of the new railway line.”

Tracey Logan, the Council’s Chief Executive added: “We have to thank our partners for helping to make this possible and ensuring a pupil from every school has the chance to be on board for the big day, an occasion I am sure they will be able to look back on with pride for the rest of their lives.”

Elaine Bell, ScotRail’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility said: “We are very happy to support this exciting opportunity, and can’t wait to see all the lucky winners on the Golden Ticket day.

“Our ‘ScotRail in the Community’ programme will increase awareness of the new line for Scottish Borders school pupils, and our staff are looking forward to getting out and about and meeting the young people who will be involved.”

Cash for Kids Charity Manager, Candy Rafferty added: “This is not just a brilliant idea, but also potentially the most significant fundraiser ever held in aid of Radio Borders Cash for Kids. It comes just as we are experiencing an unprecedented hike in the appeals made to the charity, particularly in relation to families having to meet the rising costs of disability aids. Our thanks go to everyone taking part in the Golden Ticket initiative and for the donations that we receive as a result. We also wish all the winning children a fantastic day.”